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June 21, 2015

The Six #Readalong: Chapters 5 - 10 @KBHoyle_author

by Donna Huber

If you missed week 1 or week 2 discussions, click on the links.

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Some strange things start happening to Darcy in these chapters.

Chapter 5:Night

The kids have just returned from skipping rocks and, though Darcy had a good time, she is itching to get away from Sam.

I had forgotten that Sam and Lewis had siblings. I don't know if they make an appearance in later books.

What are you realizing you had forgotten about the series as you read along with me?

I find it as strange as Darcy that Mrs. Acres (Lewis's mom) doesn't speak to Darcy. Maybe they are just a quiet family.

Chapter 6: Tales and Trails

In this chapter we get a proper look around the camp. In a lot of ways the camp reminds me of the 4H camp I liked best: Rock Eagle.

I like that we get to see a little of the brother-sister love between Darcy and Roger. Darcy's been annoyed with him and he has done the typical kid brother embarrassment. In this chapter we get a glimpse of how much Roger loves her by wanting to hang out with her.

We learn of the legend of Eleanor Stevenson. Did you think it was just an urban legend at this point, or that there was more to the story?

Did you go to a camp that had a "legend"? At Rock Eagle there was a rock pile in the shape of an Eagle. It was built by Native Americans, but for what reason? No one really knows.

And the second strange occurrence appears in this chapter: the red squirrel that follows the girls.

Did you think Darcy was imagining things?

Chapter 7: Colin Mackaby

We meet the "evil villain" or at least that is how Sam and Amelia feel about Colin Mackaby.

But first we have Dean playing a little trick on the girls. I really the camaraderie between the group. Even in the short time we have known Sam, Amelia, Perry, Dean and Lewis you can tell that they are good friends, at camp at least. (I still wonder what they are like the rest of the year). I also like how Sam acknowledges that Dean, Perry, and Lewis are really the most likely trio to be friends.

And now we are officially introduced to Colin Mackaby. What are your first impressions?

I don't remember how I felt when I first read the series, but reading this time I couldn't help feeling sad for him. I got the impression he is sad and misunderstood. Knowing what happens later in the series reinforces this feeling.

Darcy looked around a little longingly. She didn't fell hungry for a snack and really just wanted to be alone with her thoughts for a while. She was feeling sort of "people exhausted" (more like "Sam exhausted:) and wished that they would go inside and leave her alone for a while. 
I think this is the passage that had me more fully connecting with Darcy. Up to this point I identified more with Sam, but in the above passage I knew exactly how Darcy felt. People assume I'm an extrovert, but truly I'm an introvert that can parade around as an extrovert.

Do you think Sam would have understood if Darcy had been honest with her about wanting to be alone?

Do you think it served Darcy right to come face to face with Colin Mackaby after she ditched Sam and Amelia?

Suddenly his face turned very serious. "You're trying to pretend that you don't feel it, too, but you do," he hissed at her.
 I had forgotten about this conversation. And knowing what I know now, some of Colin's actions that Sam and Amelia mention makes more sense. While Colin is mean about it, he does kind of answer a question I always had. Did the others know about the magic, but because they couldn't make sense of it just chalked it up to Cedar Cove being special? Or was it the presence of Darcy that "activated" the magic?

We have the third odd occurrence: the presence of a very large brown bear.

Chapter 8: In Trouble

Is Darcy really being chased by a bear? Or does she have an overactive imagination?

It is probably a good thing that the first person she ran into (literally) was Roger. The gang already think she's a little odd after feeling tingles on the beach. And while he doesn't believe her, he doesn't make fun of her. So much.

Fourth odd occurrence: the bear is now a deer.

Poor Darcy. She hasn't been at the camp a whole day and she is already in trouble. And in typically little brother fashion, Roger is enjoying it.

This incident cements the fact that the gang really are friends and not just people that hang out together at camp. Perry is upset with Darcy because of what she did to Sam and Amelia. And while Perry probably a little annoyed by Sam's crush, he doesn't want her hurt.

We have a bit of foreshadowing by learning that Eleanor Stevenson alsp saw a bear. Were you getting more curious about her?

Chapter 9: Gnomes?

Darcy seems to have an odd preoccupation with food (or maybe the author does). There have been many mentions of food already in the book - about her being a picky eater, with her being a slow eater. Just an observation.

It is never fun overhearing the people who you are suppose to be making friends with talking about you. But again it is nice to see them all rally around Sam and being hurt on her behalf, though she is more than willing to forgive and forget.

Chapter 10: Gnomes!

And now maybe the strangest thing that happens occurs. Though the rest of the gang aren't happy about accepting Darcy into the fold, Sam is still trying hard to befriend her. And for Darcy's credit, she's trying a bit more to be friendly.

Sam and Darcy head out to Gnome's Haven and things really start to get weird for Darcy.

What did you think about Gnome's Haven? How do you imagine it looks like? It is a graffitied rock or more like a display case? 

I knew going into this story that it was a bit like The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. And a part of me was waiting for Darcy to push through the coats or for a Hagrid type character to show up and reveal a secret world. I couldn't wait to see how Hoyle introduced us to her fantasy world.

Did you see it the first time? I'm not sure I did. I think I was, like Darcy, distracted by these suddenly come to life Gnomes to realize she had crossed a barrier.

I don't remember the leather clad man, but I remember the creature. Do you remember who they are?

And that is where we stop this week. On the cusp of discovering the wonderful world created by Hoyle.

What were your favorite parts? Did you "see" the odd occurrences for what they are or just overlooked them?

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  1. Because I'm such a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I really wanted a Draco Malfoy-type character. I also felt it was important that there was more than one villain in the series. There needed to be some tension in this world as well as the other world so that the reader wasn't just waiting around for Darcy and co. to get to Alitheia for anything to happen. That's where Colin Mackaby came from!